While serious surf anglers like to work ocean beaches, inlets and boulder-strewn shorelines that are often hard to access, there’s another group of shore-bound anglers who favor the banks of quieter bay and Long Island Sound waters. For these anglers, often with kids or families in tow, late June through mid-July tends to be an especially productive stretch with a mixed bag consisting of just about anything that swims on the daily menu.

Right on cue, that action is heating up as a combination of porgies, fluke, school blues, kingfish and even a few blowfish have been keeping these anglers entertained. Add in countless numbers of sea robins which, while pesky, can be a source of tasty fillets if you are willing to give them a try, and there are plenty of rod-bending possibilities at this point.

The entire coast of Long Island Sound has provided fair to good action, but the best scores have come between Port Jefferson and Mattituck Inlet. That’s where an influx of sand eels has drawn fluke and cocktail blues tight to the beach on outgoing water. All you need to get in on this fun are some 4-inch soft-plastic Fin-S-Fish, curly tail grubs or Gulp! Swimming Minnows. Simply impale one on a half-ounce jig, cast out and slowly bounce your lure back to the beach.

North Shore porgies, by comparison, have been hitting best right before dark on sand worms or small pieces of clam. Fish either bait from a high-low rig sporting a pair of bait-holder-style porgy hooks and it’s hard to go wrong.

On the South Shore, scattered schools of sand eels have prompted some decent surf action anywhere between Smiths Point Bridge and Montauk Point, both inside the bays and at the inlets.

“With the sand eels around, needlefish lures have been producing some decent bass in the ocean surf after dark,” said Matthew Broderick at J & J Sports in Patchogue. “Inside the bays and at the docks, a mix of fluke, cocktail blues, kingfish and blowfish are keeping anglers reeling.”

Broderick noted that Mascot Dock, at the end of Ocean Avenue in Patchogue, has reopened after undergoing major renovations. All are welcome from early morning until 5 p.m. each day. After that, the dock is open for Patchogue Village residents only.

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Deer harvest up slightly

If you felt like last hunting season was a good one, you were not alone. According to the latest DEC statistics, hunters in New York State harvested an estimated 213,061 deer during the 2016-17 hunting season. According to the DEC, that’s an estimated five-percent increase over 2015-16 levels.

New York’s 2016 deer take included 106,055 antlerless deer and 107,006 antlered bucks. Statewide, this represents a 7.5-percent increase in buck harvest from 2015, reflecting modest population growth following the losses experienced across much of the state during the harsh winter of 2014-15. Antlerless harvest was similar to 2015 (a 2.6-percent increase), as managers sought increased antlerless harvests in certain parts of the state and reduced harvests in others.

Suffolk County saw a total of 3,206 deer harvested by hunters last season, of which 1,356 were mature bucks. Brookhaven (783), Southampton (567) and Southold (486) towns had the highest harvest numbers.

You can see DEC’s 2016 Deer Harvest Summary report at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html.

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